Research Spotlight: Person-Centered Approach Critical to Treating Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain

A recent publication explores the essential role of physical therapists in helping patients develop self-management strategies to combat musculoskeletal pain.

In a recent article published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Hutting et al discuss the issue of persistent musculoskeletal pain, including low back pain, in a global context and the dialogue surrounding effective treatment approaches.

The authors advocate for a “person-centered approach,” with physical therapists encouraging more active participation from the patient. They contend that treatment focused on self-management gives patients the skills and knowledge to actively manage their pain.

The self-management approach means educating patients on the biomechanical and psychosocial aspects of their conditions and involving them in decision making. The goal is to equip them to self-regulate their pain well after PT sessions end.

Recommendations include the formation of a strong patient-provider relationship with self-management support tailored to the patient’s unique needs. There is a focus on behavior change, an active lifestyle, and a positive attitude.

MedRisk is in alignment with these recommendations and helps facilitate a person-centered approach for patients through consultation with an on-staff PT in advance of treatment and in cases of interrupted recovery. Self-management is also a primary goal for treatment in the MedRisk Telerehabilitation Program.

Hutting, N., Johnston, V., Staal, J. B., & Heerkens, Y. F. (2019). Promoting the use of self-management strategies for people with persistent musculoskeletal disorders: the role of physical therapists. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy49(4), 212-215.

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